Many years ago I would avidly read every book that Stephen King wrote, but after a few overlong books in need of a good editing, I stopped. It was a tad harsh on my part, because he is a great writer. Recently I blogged about The Outsider (read about it here) and how I had also picked up Doctor Sleep.
I finished Doctor Sleep a few weeks ago, but I was waiting to blog about it until we’d been to see the film version at the cinema. Dan Torrance, the young boy from The Shining, has grown up, he’s a drunk and a druggie, and hits rock bottom. In a small town he meets a man who has faith in him and turns him from around. He also starts communicating via writing on a blackboard with a young girl, Abra, who also has ‘the shining’.
In the midst of all this is Rose the Hat and her followers called the True Knot, an unusual bunch who all have different shining abilities. They are not a good bunch of people as they feed off people who have the shining, known to then as ‘steam’. Children have the best shining, and the more pain inflicted as they are murdered the better the ‘steam’ is. They discover Abra and it’s up to Dan to save her, and hopefully himself in the process.
It has been many years since I read The Shining and I’m always wary of sequels, but this follows on nicely and has just the right amount of intrigue and suspense, while the new characters fit in nicely.
Now onto the films. I wasn’t a big fan of film version of The Shining, mainly because Dan’s mentor, the chef from the Overlook Hotel, died in the film, but lived in the book. This creates a problem for the film of Doctor Sleep, which they nicely overcome. I won’t give too much away as you might want to watch the film or read the book. Another problem for the film is that Shelley Duvall is such an iconic actress, that whoever has to play her character is never going to look or feel like her. Ewan McGregor however, is absolutely fantastic as a grown up Dan. In the ending of the film Doctor Sleep they bring back Jack Torrance, and again no one can look or act like Jack Nicholson, and it actually feels wrong, as if the director is trying too hard to link back to the original film. In the end, the film did work well, although my beautiful wife left early as there was a particularly nasty scene where the True Knot killed a young boy. The film had a 15 rating, which I’m not sure about. The reviews have also been very mixed.
To recap, I really enjoyed the book, and the film was definitely better than expected.